GEORGE NEWS - For at least the next 10 weeks readers can look forward to seeing lifeguards on the beaches in Wilderness.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) has launched a life-saving initiative that will see lifeguards stationed on beaches in the Wilderness area over weekends and public holidays from 10:00 to 18:00 from 27 February to 2 May.
According to NSRI duty spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, the focus will be prevention, anticipating dangers and educating visitors to the dangers that they may face at the water, thus reducing the need for rescue.
"A spate of recent drownings along the coastline, and the recent rescue of a local man who was caught in a rip current at The Steps, highlights once again the need for lifeguards to patrol Wilderness beach over the weekends during the summer season," she said.
In a statement released by Shelver earlier this week she pointed out the dangerous stretch from Leentjiesklip to the outlet of the lagoon, Wilderness Main beach and beyond the Views Hotel, an area that is notoriously dangerous for swimming.
"Many lives have been saved due to bystander and NSRI rescue response. The NSRI has also deployed a number of Pink Rescue buoys along the beach, but more needs to be done to save lives," she said.
'For the community, by the community'
Station 23 Wilderness commander Garth Dominy said that these lifeguards will use Sea Rescue's custom designed all-terrain vehicle to patrol the beach and educate the public.
"When someone is drowning, every second counts. Having lifeguards on this stretch will undoubtedly reduce response times, and effectively save lives. Signage will also be used to warn people of rip currents. The community has raised concerns regarding the lack of lifeguards on the beach, and we share their concerns," Dominy said.
"We appeal to the community to support this initiative in any way that they can, either by donating or sharing our appeal. Even the lifeguards have donated a third of their time to patrolling the beach. This initiative really is an initiative for the community, by the community and we are really excited to launch it on Wilderness beaches this weekend."
George Acting Municipal Manager, Dr Michele Gratz, welcomed the idea and said that the municipality fully supports the initiative. "This is a positive step to attract visitors, promote tourism and ensure the safety of beachgoers," she said.
Anyone can save life, but the NSRI needs lifeguards to assist them in saving lives on Wilderness beaches, and they need the help of the community to put them there.
For more information or to make a donation, please contact Wilderness NSRI Station 23 on 082 990 5955 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
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